Around the time of the club and league's 20th anniversary, the Colorado Rapids asked the fans to vote for the best goal scored in the club's history. Choosing from a shortlist created by the Rapids Gallery of Honor members, the fans voted the goals below as the top five in the history of the Colorado Rapids.
Prior to arriving in MLS, the Scottish international striker John Spencer had scored 99 goals. His career had begun at Rangers, and included stints in China and England. It was in England where he rose to prominence, during his time with Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers.
Spencer would land in MLS with something of a thump, netting 14 goals in his first season (2001). The 4th of July encounter that year would provide Spencer with his most memorable moment in a Rapids jersey. Colorado claimed a 3-1 home win over D.C. United, and Spencer bagged all three. He duly notes his 'Best #RapidsGoal' to have been his third on this special day.
His hat-trick started with an opening goal after just 48 seconds, and would be completed nine minutes from time. He led the Rapids' goalscoring chart in his first season, and would also appear in the 2001 MLS All-Star Game.
Pablo Mastroeni did not score too many goals during 12 seasons as a player in Colorado. In fact, from his club-record 225 regular season appearances, he found the net just five times.
His 'Best #RapidsGoal', though, came in a playoff game, and from his own boot. Columbus Crew were the visitors to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, on October 28, 2010. It was the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and another step along the path toward MLS Cup glory.
Mastroeni's goal, scored after just 23 minutes, gave Colorado a valuable 1-0 win to take to Crew Stadium a week later.
The Rapids would eventually progress to the Eastern Conference championship decider via a penalty shoot-out, but it was that opening effort from Mastroeni which set the Rapids on their way.
Chris Henderson had two spells with the Colorado Rapids, from 1996-98 and 2002-2005. His ‘Best #RapidsGoal’, though, came five years after he had left the club.
Henderson points to the goal grabbed by Conor Casey, in the 2010 MLS Cup final, as his favorite. The scrappy effort dragged the Rapids level with FC Dallas; they would go on to win the contest 2-1 after extra-time.
Casey’s goal may be Henderson’s #1, but he netted a fair few during his time in Colorado – 31 to be precise – including the goal which made safe the Western Conference championship, and secured a spot in the 1997 MLS Cup final.
A favorite goal need not be the easiest on the eye, and so for his 'Best #RapidsGoal', Gallery of Honor inductee Paul Bravo opted for the own-goal scored by George John of FC Dallas in the 2010 MLS Cup final.
That unfortunate mis-cue, from a Macoumba Kandji cross, gifted the Rapids a 2-1 lead, which they would frantically cling on to for a first MLS Cup.
Bravo, the club's VP of Soccer Operations and Technical Director, remains second on the all-time list of Rapids' goalscorers. His 39 goals in 135 appearances is only bettered by Conor Casey (50 goals in 119 appearances).
When Marcelo Balboa leapt to sweetly connect with an Anders Limpar cross at the then named Crew Stadium in Columbus, he was not in unchartered territory. While his acrobatic bicycle kick on that occasion – April 22, 2000 – flew into the back of the net, he had attempted the move previously and narrowly missed.
During the USA’s infamous 2-1 win over Colombia during the 1994 FIFA World Cup, in front of more than 93,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Balboa almost scored what would have been one of the tournament’s greatest goals.
He had clearly fine-tuned his technique, scoring what would be the MLS Goal of the Year in 2000. If you ask him about it, his recollection is vague, due to the effects of a concussion but it remains one of the top goals ever scored in MLS.